Category: Harrisonburg Issues

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City’s groundbreaking restorative justice program offers second chances and accountability as alternative to criminal charges

Pierre Mbala and two friends were headed to get pizza on an overcast, chilly Thursday in late March, 2018. On the way, they stopped at a convenience store for a soda or maybe some candy, and to taste the freedom that comes with being 17.

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Split students up by grades? By area of study? By area of the city? School board soliciting input for how new and existing high schools will work together

The city school board will collect community input to help guide the design for the new high school — as well as how it will be set up and operated in conjunction with Harrisonburg High School — including through a public meeting Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Thomas Harrison Middle School auditorium.

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‘You should be happy.’ How one mom’s postpartum experience led her to find help in the Valley — and happiness

Three weeks and two days after my son was born, I left a voicemail for my son’s pediatrician — desperate for advice about sleep. I was blaming my lack of sleep on the baby. I thought maybe I was failing as a mother to provide him with enough milk. In reality, he was fine. I, however, was not.

Organizers of effort to memorialize the victim of a local lynching set their sights on Court Square

Charlotte Harris was in the custody of local law enforcement in Rockingham County on March 6, 1878, when a mob seized her and hung her from a tree – the only documented lynching of an African-American woman in Virginia’s history. The next month, a grand jury in Harrisonburg ended its investigation of the murder without returning any indictments. Judge Charles T. O’Ferrall, who oversaw that investigation, went on to become governor in the 1890s.

Townie Summer comes to this college town

At the entrance, a metal sign proclaims, “Townie Summer.” Once a simple bit of local vernacular, some downtown businesses have begun to embrace the phrase. Susan Keeler, creative director at Pale Fire, says it’s about Harrisonburg having “that sleepy, small-town feel again.”

“It’s quiet,” Keeler said. “I think that’s what really sums up Townie Summer: it’s this calm.”  

Council again asks sheriff to consider ditching the jail ‘keep fee,’ also passes 2020 budget

The Harrisonburg city council ratcheted up pressure on the Rockingham County sheriff regarding the $1-a-day “keep fee” at the local jail. After a lengthy discussion about wording and efficacy, the council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday evening to formally ask Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson to “examine the possibility of eliminating the $1-day jail fee.”

Hoodies, music therapy and pick-up basketball. This school has found different ways to reach students.

For students the Rockingham Academy, a sweatshirt emblazoned with the school’s logo is more than just a token of school spirit. It’s a badge of honor. “In their home schools, they probably … were never seen as part of a team, athletically or otherwise, they weren’t in a group. They were probably disenfranchised, disassociated,” said Scott Bojanich, the academy’s principal.

In the grip of Harrisonburg’s housing crunch, some families keep getting squeezed

When Shannon Porter, executive director of Mercy House, pictures someone who’s homeless, the mental image that springs to his mind isn’t a loner with gray hair and well-worn wrinkles.  

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